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F1 greets new European Commission

EUROPEAN COMMISSION President Romano Prodi has named his new team of Commissioners and the Competition portfolio has gone to his fellow countryman Mario Monti. The 56-year-old from Varese is an academic who studied at Yale before rising through the ranks in Italy to become Professor of Monetary Theory and Policy at Bocconi University in Milan. This led to jobs with various companies and government bodies before his appointment as the European Commissioner in charge of the internal market. He has been a motor racing enthusiast since his childhood when he met Juan-Manuel Fangio.

This is good news for Formula 1 which was not enjoyed its relationship with the outgoing commissioner Karel Van Miert. FIA President Max Mosley said that the Belgian was "happily, a spent force" and that he hoped that "under the new regime we can look forward to a phase of rational discussion, rather than a continuance of the confrontation which has dominated during two of the five last years of the Commission."

It will help that Britain's Neil Kinnock - who was the Transport Commissioner (and did a lot of work with the FIA) - has been promoted to the post of Vice-President of the Commission under Prodi.

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